WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MAY 6, 2021
TOPIC: AVOID RIVALRY
BY T. O. BANSO
“Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3 Holman Christian Standard Bible).
Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:5 that if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. Except you have entered for a competition, which is usually for a period of time, don’t live your life in competition with others. Don’t engage in rivalry with anyone. Rivalry will rob you of peace and joy.
Rivalry or contention is part of the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:20). Don’t allow it in your life. Walk in love towards others (Ephesians 5:2). Be interested in others’ success; don’t be envious of them and engage in rivalry. The success of others doesn’t stop you from succeeding.
Nobody has everything, and there are things that God has given each person. There are things that God has given you that He won’t give another person, no matter how much they compete with you. Similarly, there are things that God has given other persons that, no matter how much you compete with them, you will never get. God wants us to complement each other, not to compete with each other.
The Bible compares the body of Christ (the church) to the human body which has many parts (1 Corinthians 12:12-14). “But God made our bodies with many parts, and he has put each part just where he wants it. What a strange thing a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you.’ The head can’t say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you’” (verses 18-21 New Living Translation).
The human body functions well because each part has a different function and there is no rivalry among them. If you want to enjoy your life, don’t engage in rivalry. Paul wrote to the Philippians to fulfill his joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind (Philippians 2:2). He said in verse 3, “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves” (Holman Christian Standard Bible).
Christians should not be involved in competition among themselves or with anyone. They should understand that, as said by John the Baptist, no man can receive anything except it is given to him from above (John 3:27). They should also realize that the race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong (Ecclesiastes 9:11). It is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy (Romans 9:16).
In Mark 9:33-37, the Bible tells us that on the way to Capernaum, the disciples of Jesus were disputing among themselves who was the greatest. Jesus didn’t comment until they got to Capernaum and He asked them what they were disputing among themselves. It wasn’t that He didn’t know; He only wanted to teach them something. But they kept silent. “And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all’” (verse 35 New King James Version).
Jesus went further to set a little child in their midst, took him in His arms, and said, “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me” (verse 37 New King James Version). Matthew 18:1-5 and Luke 9:46-48 also record the response of Jesus to the disciples’ dispute on who was the greatest. He said in Matthew 23:11-12, “But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (New King James Version).
Avoid rivalry. Each believer should live his/her own life, not another person’s life. Each person should run his/her own race, not another person’s race. Everyone should run in his/her own lane, not in another person’s lane. Rivalry often creates an atmosphere of hatred with grave, evil consequences. “For, where envy and rivalry exist, there you will also find disorder and all kinds of base actions” (James 3:16 Twentieth Century New Testament). Because of rivalry, some people have resorted to even murder.
Cain killed his brother because of rivalry. He found it difficult to celebrate his brother’s success. Instead of learning from Abel what he did for God to accept him and his offering, he decided to kill him (Genesis 4:1-15). Psalm 133:1 says, “How wonderful it is, how pleasant, when brothers live together in harmony!” (New Living Translation). Avoid rivalry; embrace harmony.
You should not destroy others because you want to succeed; you don’t need to pull anyone down for you to rise. You can’t pull anyone down without going down first! “I have seen that every labor and every skill which is done is the result of rivalry between a person and his neighbor. This too is futility and striving after wind” (Ecclesiastes 4:4 New American Standard Bible).
There is no need for rivalry. Paul said in Philippians 1:15 that some people were preaching out of jealousy and rivalry, but others preached about Christ with pure motives. You wonder what type of Christians those who preached out of jealousy and rivalry were! How could they be preaching out of jealousy and rivalry? How could they be engaging in spiritual assignment with a worldly mind?
Rivalry is uncalled for among believers. It is not the Spirit of Christ. Unfortunately, the existence of this evil among believers, including the ministers of God, cannot be denied. Why are you in rivalry with someone who is supposed to be a blessing to you? Believers are supposed to complement each other, not to compete. We can learn from each other without being envious. We are to support each other and not to fight each other. We are not to envy each other, but to encourage each other. We can be challenged by others to fulfill our destiny without being jealous of their success.
There is the need for mutual encouragement of each other’s faith so as to become a blessing to each other (Romans 1:12). Others can encourage our faith (1 Thessalonians 3:2). Hebrews 10:24 says, “Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds” (New Living Translation). Avoid rivalry.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you
PRAYER POINTS: I repent of any form of rivalry with anyone. Forgive me, Lord. Henceforth, my labor and skill shall not be the result of rivalry. Holy Spirit, help me to do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than me.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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